AMRestore Partner Polygon Helps NYC Church After Water Main Break

AMRestore Partner Polygon Helps NYC Church After a Water Main Break

Earlier this month, a water main break caused extensive damage to Saint Peter’s Church in Midtown Manhattan. The damage not only impacted structural elements of the church, but the church’s piano, organ, and countless documents. AMRestore’s parent company, Polygon, worked with the church to save the damaged archives.

Combining for decades of document recovery experience, AMRestore and Polygon know that time is the most valuable resource when it comes to document restoration. When massive flooding occurs, as it did at Saint Peter’s Church, getting experts on the scene as soon as possible is paramount. We offer industry-leading expertise and technology when it comes to restoring water-damaged documents. Our state-of-the-art vacuum freeze-drying chambers use negative pressure to create a seriously effective drying solution. With facilities all over the country, we assist various organizations in situations like this regularly.

For more on St. Peter’s Church, check out this story:


Again, time is the most precious resource when it comes to restoring water-damaged documents. Save our number in case disaster strikes: 800.498.8800.

Trust AMRestore to Protect Your Sports Memorabilia

Trust AMRestore to Protect Your Sports Memorabilia

The quality of collectibles and memorabilia is only as good as its storage environment. Failing to monitor and control the climate of such a space risks major damage to the valuable memorabilia inside. When setting up a storage solution or when upgrading a current one, it’s imperative that you have a plan in case unwanted conditions arise.

A collection of classic sports memorabilia may not run for millions or more at auction, but regardless, it’s an investment well worth protecting. If one or more pieces of a collection are personally connected to the collector, then their preservation is an intimate and essential process. Stable environmental conditions that control for temperature, humidity, pollutants, and pests ensure that a piece won’t be harmed.

Get Temperature and Humidity Under Control

Basic guidelines advise storing between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit as well as at a humidity level of 45-55%. The first step to any of this delicate balancing is monitoring. Remote monitoring offers a portrait of the storage space that shapes the environmental variables. For the most delicate of materials, such as first edition baseball cards, AMRestore offers industry leading document recovery technology, achieving the ultimate dry setting for long-term preservation. There are subtle differences between storing organic and inorganic materials as well.

Use Best Practices for Memorabilia Storage

For the amateur or professional preserver, there are best practices everyone should follow. To begin with, treat everything as fragile regardless of age or value. That means minimal handling. Though most light can be harmful, UV is by far the worst and should be monitored and adjusted for with care. An airtight or nearly airtight location is key to prevent the intrusion of pests like mold and mildew. That rules out backdoor sheds and a breezy attic room. What should be obvious is that preservation can be a challenge for even experienced historians, as the variables are so numerous and have so little margin for error.

Preserve Your Treasured Collections with AMRestore

How can AMRestore protect your collection? AMRestore has experience surveying a collection’s storage situation, helps to monitor its environment, and offers proven tools to control temperature, light, and humidity. Whether it’s Babe Ruth’s jersey or a favorite set of baseball cards from childhood, don’t risk a treasured collection of sports memorabilia.

To learn more about AMRestore, click here.

Keeping Universities Mold-Free

Keeping Universities Mold-Free

Mold can be a problem in any building, but at a university, it can be particularly serious. However, testing buildings for mold, particularly on a large busy campus, can be time-consuming, expensive, and unreliable. Since the best defense against a mold problem is prevention, or at least early diagnosis, a comprehensive maintenance and remediation plan is a must to keep students safe, and buildings operational.

The number one cause of mold is dampness, so it is paramount to keep potentially moldy spaces dry. If there is a leak or seasonal dampness, this must be addressed as soon as possible, since mold can cause serious health issues, or make certain pre-existing health conditions worse. Since mold spores are most likely to be inhaled, the potential health issues include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory issues. This makes preventing mold an important consideration for schools and universities, particularly in dorm buildings.

Mold is a common occurrence and can grow anywhere that moisture and oxygen are found. This makes it virtually impossible to eliminate all the mold spores in an indoor environment. Inside, mold can lie dormant in dusty areas only to be disturbed by movement, even something like routine vacuuming or cleaning. Because of this resilience, controlling indoor moisture and ventilation is the most effective way to prevent or remediate mold growth.

Schools and universities are particularly at risk due to the age and construction of many campus buildings. Mold is more than happy to grow on wood, paper, old cardboard, gypsum (drywall), old carpeting, and even dust. Many old schools and university buildings haven’t always had the best upkeep and as these old building materials break down, they become the perfect place for mold to grow.

But mold also needs moisture and oxygen. Many of these older buildings have aging plumbing and HVAC systems that leak water or coolant, creating the perfect damp environment. Buildings built between the 1970s and 1990s also tend to feature better sealing than buildings that came before but may lack adequate ventilation leading to moisture buildup. Moisture can also come from leaky roofs, gutters, and groundwater that collects under older buildings.

Once the mold has been detected it must be addressed immediately, both to prevent possible health issues and to keep it from spreading. The moldy space must be dried and controlled with the proper commercial equipment, including desiccant dehumidifiers. Depending on the composition of the materials the mold has grown on, they must be remediated or removed and replaced. Once space has been cleared of mold great care should be taken to keep the space dry and ventilated, otherwise, there is a good chance that the mold will return.

Working to prevent mold by increasing ventilation and dehumidifying the air can save you a great deal of time and money in the long run and protect students from potential health hazards. Older buildings are particularly at risk, and in turn, the risk to students in residential buildings such as dorms is far greater. Many universities have dealt with mold issues in dorms and classrooms, costing them thousands of dollars and displacing hundreds of students. In the last few years, Florida StateThe University of Louisville, and The University of South Carolina have all had to relocate students while dealing with mold issues that could have been prevented with better maintenance and ventilation.

Since mold grows naturally wherever it can find moisture and oxygen, it can be extremely difficult to fight, particularly when older buildings create the perfect environment for mold to thrive. Since mold is a health hazard, it is paramount that mold be prevented or, should it appear, be addressed quickly and effectively. AMRestore is a global leader in climate and emergency drying solutions and has decades of experience working with universities to prevent dangerous mold growth. We have all the tools and expertise needed to overcome any mold issue. Learn more about AMRestore’s drying solutions for universities today.

3 Reasons to Trust AMRestore to Restore What You Value Most

3 Reasons to Trust AMRestore to Restore What You Value Most

Life comes with many challenges. While we all take steps to “expect the unexpected” and be ready for emergencies, it’s impossible to prevent certain unfortunate occurrences. AMRestore knows this. That’s why we pride ourselves on being excellent partners for our clients, whether an individual or a company, in their times of need. We bring professionalism and expertise to specialty cleaning, moving, and restoration. Our motto, “Restoring what you value most,” is not limited to just items. We strive to restore your life to a level of normalcy after you’ve been impacted by a flood, fire, or any number of unfortunate circumstances. While we could give you dozens of reasons to work with us, we value your time. So here are the most important three.

Industry-Leading Technology

We wouldn’t call ourselves experts in cleaning, moving, and restoration if we didn’t have the equipment necessary to excel at all three. We are particularly proud of our large capacity document freeze-drying chamber. If fire suppression efforts or a flood soak massive quantities of important documents or books, we are one of the few restoration companies with the latest technology and ability to handle a high quantity of damaged items.

Our Expert Team

AMRestore maintains the firm belief that technology and equipment are only as good as the experts behind them. Whether you are a librarian dealing with water-damaged books or a CEO worrying about a large corporate office move, we have an expert who knows the best course of action to get you back on the path to normal. When things go wrong, AMRestore provides the level of specialization and expertise that can be so important in challenging times. Expertise isn’t the only thing that the AMRestore team brings to our clients.

Our Commitment to Clients

The most valuable thing that we bring to the clients we work with is a commitment to do what is right. We understand that life comes with these challenging moments. It’s our job to do what we can to get things back to normal, whether that comes through restoration, specialized cleaning, or a worry-free move.

Take the steps towards making AMRestore your go-to partner for today. Our team is ready to answer your questions and send an expert to your worksite. Contact us here.

Time: The Most Valuable Resource in Document Restoration

Time: The Most Valuable Resource in Document Restoration

When your business is affected by a flood or fire, it can be devastating and highly stressful. More than that, such disasters can disrupt operations, especially if important documents are permanently damaged. If documents are damaged by water or fire, they can sometimes be restored or digitized in order to save the information and keep your business on track. But this is only a possibility if businesses have a plan in place for disasters and act fast. Time is the most valuable resource in document restoration.

Time is of the Essence

When important documents are damaged, particularly by water, it’s vital to act fast. The longer that documents sit untreated, the more likely the damage will be irreversible. So when quick decision making is so important, having a plan created ahead of time is the best way to guarantee fast action occurs.

Keys to Your Organization’s Disaster Reaction Plan

The most important aspect of any organization’s disaster reaction plan is the part that protects employees and anyone else inside the building. There must be clear steps for evacuation that will protect anyone inside the facility. It’s also important to assign certain people within the company or organization with the responsibility of directing people during disasters, which tend to be stressful. Employees are an organization’s most important asset. Your organization’s plan should outline how the company plans to communicate with its staff and provide support before, during, and after an incident. Once you can ensure the safety of people, the next step is protecting your company’s other valuable assets: sensitive documents, expensive equipment, and other important items. With employees being the number one priority, protecting those valuable assets usually comes with preventative measures and responsive measures. In other words, protect people during the disastrous event and take steps to protect items before and after. Preventative measures can include keeping valuable items in fire-proof and water-proof containers or safes. Responsive measures start with putting someone in charge of the restoration efforts who knows exactly what to do. While paying someone to be an expert in a situation that might never happen isn’t practical, starting a partnership with a company with the technology and expertise to move quickly in disastrous circumstances is more than practical. It’s essential.

Trusting AMRestore as Your Disaster Response Partner

AMRestore offers emergency response and an impressive fleet of drying and climate control equipment. Our industry-leading restoration technology combined with our highly experienced team means that you can trust us to take the right steps to get things back to normal and restore your most important documents and equipment.

To start your partnership with AMRestore, an industry leader in emergency drying and restoration, contact us today.

Polygon Sponsors CoSA Emergency Preparedness Series

Polygon Sponsors CoSA Emergency Preparedness Series

As the owner or manager of an archives or records center, you can hope that you and your colleagues never have to experience an emergency situation. But all the hoping in the world won’t prevent flooding, fires, and other emergency scenarios from occurring. That’s why it’s essential that archivists have emergency plans in place. AMRestore’s parent company, Polygon, and the Council of State Archivists (CoSA) have teamed up to create a series of emergency preparedness documents that will give your organization the information it needs to put together a plan for when an emergency scenario damages your important documents.

This series from CoSA, sponsored by Polygon, consists of four documents packed with information to give archivists the knowledge they need to secure and recover essential records when they have been damaged by natural or human-caused emergencies.

“These resources are based on CoSA’s work for the Intergovernmental Preparedness for Essential Records (IPER) Project, which trained state and local government officials in every state and territory in emergency preparedness and ensuring the safety of essential records,” a CoSA administrative coordinator and former IPER trainer said. “We are pleased we’ve been able to repurpose this information.”

4 Documents to Cover the 4 “R’s”

The series is based around what CoSA and Polygon call “The 4 R’s,” which include risk, readiness, response, and recovery. The first of the four documents provides an overview of each R.

The second provides a more in-depth look into risk and readiness. Identifying risk and taking action to reduce it can go a long way for the preservation records over time. Readiness is all about the plans and policies that an organization has in place, enabling that organization to mitigate disastrous situations and preserve its valuable documents.

“Response and Recovery,” the third document, covers the third and fourth R’s. An organization’s response is crucial to the protection of documents during a disaster. Split-second decisions can make all the difference when responding to an emergency. The recovery phase should be moving towards normalcy. Assessing the damage, filing claims, and taking the necessary steps to return to normal operations are all part of recovery.

The final document includes infographics and statistics to guide your organization as it prepares for emergencies. As your organization puts together an emergency preparedness plan, consult these helpful documents. They also offer links to other valuable resources. Visit the CoSA website now to download all four documents in this series.

AMRestore is the leading document recovery service provider in the Mid-Atlantic US. We are ready can help you when disaster strikes. Our team has the expertise and technology to restore damaged documents. Make us a part of your disaster plan and contact our team today.

CDC Releases Guidance for Safely Reopening Buildings

CDC Releases Guidance for Safely Reopening Buildings

Earlier this summer, the CDC released guidance for reopening buildings that have spent a considerable portion of this year completely shutdown or under reduced operation. As we approach the end of summer, AMRestore would like to highlight some key elements from the document as schools and other buildings think about bringing employees and students back into buildings that may have been empty for months.

Water Safety

While it makes sense to shut down certain systems while a building is vacant in order to conserve resources, that decision comes with a certain level of risk. Take, for example, the plumbing system. The CDC states,When water is stagnant, hot water temperatures can decrease to the Legionella growth range (77–108°F, 25–42°C). Stagnant water can also lead to low or undetectable levels of disinfectant, such as chlorine. Ensure that your water system is safe to use after a prolonged shutdown to minimize the risk of Legionnaires’ disease and other diseases associated with water.” Before people return to these vacant buildings, it’s important for administrators, executives, and building managers to take account of all areas that use the plumbing system. If water from the plumbing system is used in aerosol form, that can be particularly dangerous. The CDC offers a Water Management Program Toolkit to help buildings reduce the risk of Legionella infection.

Mold Growth

Another system that is likely to have been shut down during a time where so many people are staying home is the HVAC system. This leaves stagnant air. The combination of stagnant air from a dormant HVAC and nobody in the building to look out for leaks or condensation makes empty buildings an ideal spot for mold growth. “People with asthma and other respiratory conditions and those with mold allergy or weakened immune systems should avoid buildings suspected or confirmed to have mold contamination.” Just because mold growth isn’t visible doesn’t mean it’s not there. The CDC recommends a mold assessment, a serious effort to reduce humidity inside the building, frequent checks of the HVAC system, and thorough cleaning of any area that is damp or carries an odor.

A Smooth Reopening with AMRestore

When it comes to keeping the humidity inside a building low, AMRestore has the expertise and equipment to make it happen. Our experts can assist in the assessment of high mold-risk areas and work to eradicate existing spores while creating an environment to assure they won’t come back during the initial period where the HVAC is turned back on and undergoes frequent inspection. Whether it’s a school building, factory, office building, or any other workplace, AMRestore is by your side to keep everyone inside safe from mold and other contaminants that thrive in a high humidity environment. Contact us to learn more about our temporary climate control.

Reopening Schools and Universities: ASHRAE Releases Guidelines

Reopening Schools and Universities: ASHRAE Releases Guidelines

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers, typically referred to as ASHRAE, released a technical resource regarding the reopening of schools and universities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. They stated their position as, “Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air is sufficiently likely that airborne exposure to the virus should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning [HVAC] systems, can reduce airborne exposures.”

The full resource is available on the ASHRAE website. ASHRAE states the purpose of the guide in the introduction: “This guidance has been formulated to help designers retrofit and plan for the improvement of indoor air quality and to slow the transmission of viruses via the HVAC systems. The underlying effort of the designer should be to increase outside air to the spaces and treat return air.  The designer should also be concerned with mechanical filtration of the supply air and maintaining indoor comfort as defined by the design temperature and relative humidity.” The resource continues with two checklists for the fall start of classes. The first checklist includes a review or air systems and past indoor air quality issues, general inspection of spaces in order to identify concerns for water leaks or mold growth, and checks for implementing sanitary practices.

The second checklist focuses on HVAC systems. It starts, “Maintain proper indoor air temperature and humidity to maintain human comfort, reduce potential for spread of airborne pathogens and limit potential for mold growth in building structure and finishes (refer to ASHRAE Standard 55, recommended temperature ranges of 68-78 degrees F dry bulb depending on operating condition and other factors, recommend limiting maximum RH to 60%). Consider consulting with a local professional engineer to determine appropriate minimum RH levels based on local climate conditions, type of construction and age of the building under consideration. Recommend minimum RH of 40% if appropriate for building. Consider the addition of humidification equipment only when reviewed by a design professional to verify minimum RH set points will not adversely impact building or occupants by contributing to condensation and possible biological growth in building envelope. Trend and monitor temperature and humidity levels in each space to the extent possible and within the capability of BAS, portable data loggers and handheld instruments.” The checklist also recommends reviewing airflows, verifying the function of filtration systems on mechanical equipment, ventilation, performing an initial airflow flush by running the HVAC system on occupied for a week prior to building occupation, and ensuring that domestic water systems are ready for use.

The resource continues, recommending different frequencies for verifications and checks on certain systems and sections packed with useful information. When it comes to administrations following these checklists and getting ready to reopen the schools and universities, AMRestore can provide dehumidification equipment, portable air treatment units, and other technology to help schools and universities follow these guidelines. In these challenging times, it’s important that measures are taken to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff as we start the 2020-2021 school year.

Contact us to learn more.

Planning for Disasters: Protection for Documents and Collectibles

Planning for Disasters: Protection for Documents and Collectibles

As the summer surges on, Americans are getting closer and closer to that time of year where natural disasters become much more common. The summer sun heats the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, leading to hurricanes in that can level the East and Gulf Coasts. Additionally, high temperatures dry out forests, turning them into hot spots for dangerous fires. In order to weather these natural disasters, households and businesses have to be proactive. Valuable collectibles and important documents don’t fare well against fire or water. So, what can we do to protect these items before disaster strikes?

Going Digital Changes Everything… For Documents

Before the digital age, having backups meant having physical copies. In order to have protection against natural disasters, those physical copies would have to be in a separate location. Today, the cloud exists. When it comes to important documents, scanning and storing in the cloud is the safest way to keep backups. That way, you have copies available even if your electronic devices are damaged in the fire, flood, or other disasters.

Scan What You Can, Insure Everything

If you live or own a business somewhere that can be affected by fires, floods, tropical storms, or other disasters, it’s important to have a full understanding of what your insurance covers. If you have valuable items that can’t be replaced or saved by digitization, it’s vital that they are covered by an insurance policy. Homeowners sometimes overestimate what is covered under their home insurance policy. Whether you are a homeowner or business owner, don’t get caught wishing you had insured a valuable item after it’s too late.

Physical Protection

Insurance can soften the blow of losing something irreplaceable with a payout. But it doesn’t get you that one-of-a-kind item back. It might be worth it to invest in a safe for certain valuable items. The safe should have a 1-hour fire rating and a seal to protect the contents inside from fire, smoke, and moisture.

Know Who to Call

If you return to your business or home following a disaster and find important documents, collectibles, or other items damaged, it’s important to contact restoration experts right away. Based out of Maryland, AMRestore provides restoration services to businesses and households in Maryland, Washington DC, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The earlier our team is on the scene, the better chance that items can be restored to their original condition. Polygon, our partner company, provides restoration services across the US and Europe.

Being proactive means having a plan in place. Saving our number should be part of your plan in case your valuable items are damaged by a flood, fire, or other disasters. Turn to AMRestore to restore what you value most. Call us to learn more at 1-800-498-8800.

Rapid Restoration is Key for Preserving History, Art, Culture

Rapid Restoration is Key for Preserving History, Art, Culture

Political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator Marcus Garvey once stated, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots.” As such, valuable historical texts, books, documents, artworks, and ancient artifacts enable future generations to learn about their past, enabling discoveries of humankind’s triumphs and foibles over the years, engendering understanding that will allow for a better future.

Thus, after a flood or other disaster, it’s critical for museums, churches, libraries, municipalities, archives, and historical societies to quickly and properly restore their most valuable historical items to avoid further damage and decay. This preservation process, an essential part of document management, begins with choosing the right restoration partner.

Preserving Archival Material is Important for Historical and Cultural Reasons

Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, when it comes to historical collections, conservation and preservation are two different concepts. In general, conservation refers to proactive steps taken to ensure the proper physical treatment of individual damaged items. For example, a fragile historical document that had been incorrectly framed by an amateur might be mounted on acid-free paper and put behind UV-resistant glass to ensure it does not degrade further.

On the other hand, the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works defines preservation as activities that minimize chemical and physical deterioration and damage and prevent loss of informational content. This broad concept includes not only disaster planning, but also activities such as treatment, replacement, or reformatting that address existing damage.

To ensure the permanence of their collections, earlier, less technologically advanced generations simply recorded the words of historical documents by publishing them; but as technology advanced, archivists began to use microfilm as a medium for preservation and document management. However, by the mid-20th century, rather than just capturing or copying the information, archivists increasingly saw the value in preserving the original documents themselves before they deteriorated.

These Materials Have Commercial Value as Well

The term intrinsic value is used by the National Archives and Records Service to describe historical materials with qualities and characteristics that should be retained in their original physical form, rather than as copies. Of course, these records may have significant monetary value as well—that’s why historical documents are routinely appraised for insurance replacement, probate, donation, purchase, sale, historical, and research purposes.

So, when disaster strikes, the monetary losses can be devastating, such as the numerous examples of water-related library disasters. In 1975, for instance, the Case Western Reserve University Library was flooded, saturating and muddying approximately 40,000 books and 50,000 maps, resulting in a recovery cost of $540,000. And when floods struck Prague in August 2002, extensive collections in more than 40 libraries were destroyed and damaged—the damage to the National Library alone was estimated at $11,000,000.

Items of Cultural Relevance Exist in a Variety of Locations

Of course, valuable documents aren’t found only in libraries and museums. Municipal buildings, churches, historical societies, and other institutions may house rare and irreplaceable records as well. Literature, maps, letters, genealogy records, business contracts, and photographs are just a few of the cultural and historical archives that may be represented in these collections. And these documents need not always be connected with famous people or events to prove valuable. Just as important to historians is the record of everyday life within a culture, including rituals, religion, foods, art, and other facets that make a culture unique. Unfortunately, many of these documents may not be cataloged and may be stored in various offices, storerooms, boxes, and cabinets, or in even more out-of-the-way spots, such as under a staircase or in the attic.

Disaster Planning and a Restoration Partner are Integral When Disaster Strikes

Responding quickly to damage from water or other emergencies requires a disaster plan. A number of document recovery solutions, such as vacuum freeze drying, desiccant air drying, and cleaning and sterilization, can be employed to reverse much of the damage. When documents can’t be salvaged, digital imaging can often be used to capture the information contained in damaged records. To determine the best course of action in performing document management, it’s vital to employ the services of a restoration specialist partner with extensive experience in restoration. AmRestore is that partner.

By combining the passion for helping others with both experience and technology, the experts at AmRestore maintain high standards in service delivery. AmRestore maintains a local presence on the East Coast that enables quick response and unparalleled restoration of valuable archives. To find out more about how AmRestore can help with disaster recovery planning, contact us today.